Works of Galileo Galilei, Part 1, Volume 13, Familiar Correspondence: Letters from Women to Galileo Galilei


This codex contains letters to the Italian scientist, philosopher, and mathematician Galileo Galilei (1564–1642), including those written by his daughter Virginia, a nun in the convent of San Matteo in Arcetri, who had taken the name Sister Maria Celeste. From 1623 to 1633, Virginia faithfully wrote to her father, and her letters are a touching testimony of filial love. In 1633, Galileo was convicted of heresy for arguing the Copernican view that the Earth moves around the sun and was sentenced to life imprisonment. His sentence was commuted to life-long house arrest, and in 1634 he was sent to his villa in Arcetri, where he could be near Virginia. By then he was ill and losing his sight. Virginia cared for him, but she died a few months after his arrival in Arcetri. For a time he lost all interest in life, but he eventually returned to his work, completing his last book, Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche, intorno a due nuove scienze (Discourses and mathematical demonstrations relating to two new sciences), in 1638.

Last updated: July 3, 2014